Back to School: I Have Stress Edition

It’s the first week of full-time school for Kate and Flora. It’s a return to the school year schedule, of which I am not fond. Michael is in his daycare full time for the first time since the beginning of June.

I have no meal plan for this week.
I am still waiting for a couple of uniform pieces for Flora to come in.
And I am not looking forward to the night time sprint to bed.

Dan and I discussed the possibilities of him working until 9 p.m. three nights a week so that he can be home by 6-6:30 p.m. one night a week and by 7-7:30 p.m. another night a week. (He’s still alternating working Saturdays, which seems to be good for him.) I am hoping we can do this.

I just found out that Flora has soccer practice twice a week, Monday and Friday, and a game each weekend starting September 7.

I’m going to have to make friends with another soccer parent FAST. I see much carpooling in Flora’s future.

I signed Kate up for pep squad this year, too. No idea what that entails. Plus, Kate wants to play violin, just like her big sister.

I feel like I shouldn’t be this stressed out about this. Other parents do this, right? Other working parents of multiple kids, yeah? I mean, I feel like I’m having a measure of PTSD here (not to minimize actual people with actual serious PTSD).

But I’m dreading this year.
I’m dreading all this running around. And it’s not as if Flora and Kate are doing six or seven activities each. We said one sport, one instrument (if that).

And here was are. Each has one sport, and one instrument. Plus, homework. Plus I have to feed them. And, theoretically bathe them, and make sure they get enough sleep. And, you know, there’s that Michael kid running around too.

Shit.

And then I sit here wondering: when exactly did I bite off more than I could chew? And how do I get a handle on that without losing my job or letting my kids sit around and do nothing? There’s gotta be a middle ground around here somewhere.

I sure am having a hard time finding it.

And I don’t really want to let these girls down. (Not to mention my sweet boy.)

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4 thoughts on “Back to School: I Have Stress Edition

  1. You are normal. I wish I could tell you that there was an easy answer but when I got freaked out by my own list of “ought to be able too’s” I reminded myself of two things. The first was that Bruno Bettleheim pointed out that children don’t need perfect parents in order to thrive. They just needed “good enough” parents who were giving a decent shot at being there for their kids. We as ‘ modern’ parents put quasi-technolohical expectations on ourselves, as though we were pushing out BMW autos and a lack of attention to detail would turn our children into the equivalent of lemons. In fact, it is our lack of ability to fulfill all our children’s needs that push them into the desire to walk and talk and all the subsequent steps toward independent person hood. I have seen children who are developmentally delayed because the parents were so focused on fulfilling the childs needs they had no need to struggle to the next developmental level. If you have to limit your children’s activities in order to maintain a level of sanity in your household, I will guarantee that this is better than breathless harried busyness.
    Essentially you are a single parent a majority of the evenings, so it is rational to feel you cannot be in two places at once. Will your nanny do part time? If not, advertise for a responsible teen or retiree at church to help after school. Most will prefer to be paid off the books, but it is worth it. I have been blessed with amazing teen child care-you may even find a college student with an interest in music or soccer or early child development.
    The other thing that I reminded myself when overwhelmed was that if my workaholic, alcoholic, bipolar mother, whose best was far less than my own meager intentions, managed to raise the majority of us to rational and sober adulthood, then my efforts are probably good enough, if not necessarily what I would like in a perfect world. We just need to make our children a priority, not an expectation of perfection. So far, being good enough has worked fairly well for my kids, with God’s help.

    • I already pay for aftercare at the school, and of course full-time daycare for M. No more paid care right now! As I said, Dan and I have talked about his schedule and how he can help me. We’re working on that.

      And I never did worry about perfection — gave that up a long, long time ago! I think I can do a little better with some organization, though.

  2. Hang in there. Even if you don’t feel it, you’re a good mom and a strong woman. That said, the fact you are freaking out or even breaking down over this doesn’t diminish the last sentence a bit. My mom freaked out at times when she faced unexpected car pools, not knowing what to fix for dinner, or getting us to finish our homework, bathe, and go to bed. And she was a good mom, too. I have no doubt you’ll find your groove in a few weeks and even find moments to enjoy this precious time. Full disclosure: I can’t keep the plant in my kitchen alive, and it doesn’t even play an instrument.

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